Seven female athletes from Russia were suspended today for doping violations, a potentially devastating blow to the nation's medal hopes just a week before the Olympics begin, the New York Times reports. Five of the women, all members of Russia's track and field team, were scheduled to compete in the Games. They have 14 days to appeal, but it appears unlikely they will be running in Beijing.
The two biggest names are Yelena Soboleva, a top performer in 800 and 1,500 meters, and Tatyana Tomashova, who won a silver medal in the 1,500 in the 2004 Games. The sport's world governing body, known as the IAAF, said it had been investigating the women for a year but provided few other details.